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Landscape Architecture: Plan Your Search

How to search for and find architectural literature and images

What is landscape architecture research?


Landscape architecture research combines the study of architecture with the study of planning, as well as incorporating scientific topics like botany.

Whilst your ability to draw and compose a space with objects and plants will form a large part of your technical skillset, being able to inform yourself of new techniques and technologies and find exemplars of good landscape design will make you a better student.

Sample assignment topic


Baroque Garden

Peter H. [@Tama66]. 2019. [Baroque garden] [Stock Image]. Pixabay.

Produce two written and illustrated pieces of research, analysis and interpretation for:

1. A ‘natural’ landscape in Sydney - Kuring-gai National Park, Sydney

2. An assigned historical designed landscape - Central Park, New York

Each piece should be accompanied by 4 carefully chosen images, each laid out on a separate page. Each image should also be accompanied by a short written caption.

Identify your key concepts


Before you begin searching, it's a good idea to identify the main ideas (or keywords) in your assignment question. 

Our sample question asks us to look at and compare two landscapes - a natural one in Sydney (Kuring-Gai National Park) and a designed one overseas (Central Park New York)

As such there seem to be three main topics to seek information on for this assignment:

Kuring-gai National Park (keyword 1) | Central Park New York (keyword 2) | landscape  (keyword 3) 


Keyword 1 Keyword 2 Keyword 3

Kuring-gai National Park

Central Park New York


Brainstorm keywords and synonyms


Once you have your main keywords you can use them to map out some similar or related terms to search with. Wikipedia is great for brainstorming, but you can also try: 

Because of the specific nature of the examples, we may not need long lists of synonyms and related terms. We have added a few general terms for the two parks though, just in case we don't get enough material on our specific examples. We've also included alternate terms for landscape: design and plan. 

Kuring-gai National Park Central Park New York Landscape


national park Australia

national park Sydney


urban park



In this search you won't need to look for all three keywords at once. instead, concentrate on searching for the landscape of Kuring-gai National Park with one search and the landscape of Central Park with another. 


  • Remove a keyword or add more related terms if you don't get enough good hits.
  • Add a keyword if you have too many hits and they aren't focused enough on the topic.

Build your search


When searching, it's best to start simple, eg: Central Park landscape or Kuring-gai National Park landscape

If you're not happy with the results, try removing the word landscape from your search and just look for the park. 

If you still don't find much, try using Boolean Operators. Boolean Operators can be used to search for many similar or related terms at once. The idea behind this is to find more material, and also to save you time in having to run many different searches.

Boolean searches for our topic

  • Use OR to add similar and related terms into your search.
  • Use parentheses ( ) to group related terms together
  • If you have two word keywords in your search, enclose them in double quotes: " "

(Kuring-gai OR "national park") 

("central park" OR "urban park") 

Then, combine OR searches together using the operator AND:

("central park" OR "urban park") AND (landscape OR plan OR design)

If you don't get good results, try removing a keyword from the search, or try to think of more related terms. 

To see how these searches can be used to find material in the library, refer to the Search for Information page (linked on right of screen).